Membership retention: something that’s at the back of any association professional’s mind. Marketing General Inc reports that over 50% of associations have reported an increase in membership over the past 6 years. With fantastic stats like these it’s not surprising that the industry is seeing to new associations that will pop up and competing for members...making it harder and more critical than ever to find ways of retaining your members year on year.
A term that has become synonymous with retention is engagement. In fact, engagement has become something of a mantra. Simply put, increased member engagement typically results in increased member retention.
In any case, all of this talk about member engagement and it’s impact on the all important member retention, got us wondering...what really is member engagement and how do we nail this thing down!? So, here are our top 4 tips to help you increase engagement in your association:
1. CREATE A COMMUNITY
Your members shouldn’t just be an unrelated group of individuals; membership in your association should signify a level of belonging to something bigger. Whether you have 100 or 100,000 members, there’s huge potential to leverage from them, and that’s community.
Benefits of belonging to a community include sharing of knowledge, supporting one another and creating business connections. These are all things your association can provide at individual level, but the real value lies in instilling a sense of community amongst your members and encourage this to flourish.
Offering networking and other social events for your members throughout the year is a great way to foster connections. Quiz nights, chapter lunches, sports tournaments, and wine tastings are all different, refreshing ways to bring your community together.
Harnessing digital technology is another great way to bring your members together. Private Linkedin and Facebook groups where conversations, support, and opinions are encouraged are a great place to start. Creating your very own Association app where members can connect in an innovative way that’s branded and crafted entirely to you and your association takes this to a whole new level.
2. FACILITATE 2-WAY COMMUNICATION
Associations communicate with their members in a variety of ways; from providing important information about changes in their industry to hosting an annual conference. These set pieces are important and should continue to be an integral part of how you communicate with your members. However, to create truly engaging experiences your member communication should be multi-directional.
Solicit opinions from your members using digital polls about their burning issues – we recommend engagement tools like Glisser, survey monkey, and utilising Q&A or polling features within your association app. Not only does this give your members a voice, it also provides with valuable insights into your industry.
3. GET CREATIVE
Think outside the square with the content you provide to your members. It’s always important to reinforce pre-existing concepts and knowledge, but don’t be afraid to try and present new things that they wouldn’t otherwise have had the opportunity to learn about. From reviewing and adopting new technologies, to providing with case studies on different perspectives, there are many ways to inspire your members and provide them with invaluable experiences.
4. COLLECT DATA AND REFINE
There’s arguably no better way of achieving better engagement with your members than collecting data. Insights into their thinking means you get a better understanding of their changing needs, interests, and requirements. Take these insights and refine your content to ensure you continue to stay current and meet their needs.
Data that you collect can be passive or active. Passively collected data is often collected through technology usage that you can draw results from. Actively collected data includes surveys, polls and questionnaires.
To learn more about increasing member engagement check out our on-demand webinar: Leapfrog last year’s member engagement with event technology.